Two of the next generation of four ro-ro vessels being built for Norwegian shipowner Sea-Cargo will be completely powered by liquid petroleum gas (LPG) - the first ever car carriers to be designed in this way. Carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by about 20 per cent, NOx by about 90 per cent and sulphur oxide emissions will be zero.

The innovative design has been developed in a cooperative venture between Sea-Cargo, Seatrans and Rolls-Royce. It follows a two-year research programme headed by Seatrans in close cooperation with Rolls-Royce and Maritek. Rolls-Royce will supply all major equipment and system elements, including main engine, reduction gear, propeller, shaft generator, tunnel bow thruster, rudder and steering gear, automation, and the LPG fuel storage and handling system.

All four ships are being built in India for delivery between 2009 and 2010 with options for a further four under discussion.
The new vessels are 132.8m long, have a dwt of around 5,600 tonnes on a draught of 6m, and has 1,150 lane meters. They are further fitted with a 50 tonnes container crane.

They will operate on a weekly service between the west coast of Norway, UK and mainland Europe.
Sea-Cargo was formed in 2001 by combining the liner companies Seatrans and Nor Lines, which own 60 per cent and 40 per cent of Sea-Cargo respectively.